In order to create a half-day diversity training exercise, it is important for us to identify the topics to be covered during the course of training, the individual best suited to lead the training exercise, the appropriate medium for training, the goals of the exercise, and to determine how the exercises will be assessed by participating employees. By reviewing each of these different aspects of the exercise it will be possible to work to better plan out the program itself while working at the same time to ensure that all the major areas that need to be planned for are covered so that nothing is missed.
In order to be able to determine the major topics that should be covered it is necessary to first understand the reason that the company has opted to create the diversity training exercise. Typically, there are only two reasons to place employees through a diversity training exercise, either as an attempt by the company to attempt to prevent potential lawsuits or to attempt to create an all-inclusive environment that ensures that all members are treated with personal and professional respect and that their talents and not their differences are what are showcased within the company environment (Bregman, 2012). As the company is not currently anticipating any lawsuits and as there are no recent complaints about a lack of diversity within our organization, according to HR, we must work off of the basis that this training exercise is being implemented for the purposes of strengthening the organization and the cohesiveness of its employees therein; with this in mind as the ultimate goal of the exercise, it is then possible to determine the major topics that should be covered during the course of the half-day that has been allocated for the purposes of this exercise.
The major topics that will be covered during the course of the half-day training exercise will consist of what a multi-cultural environment is, why respect is an important part of the workplace, understanding the manners in which prejudices and discrimination make themselves known, understanding ethnicities, and different collaborative problem solving strategies that may be utilized during the course of projects and team building exercises designed to strengthen the team through differences as opposed to demanding homogeneity (EdChange, 2013).
There are many different options available to the company in regard to the different individuals that would have the best qualifications to run such a diversity training program, including, employees, academic experts, private consultants, and representatives of other government agencies. There are various pros and cons to utilizing individuals from each of these different categories; governmental employees would most likely have already completed a program of this nature and would have a good idea not only of how to run the program, but also of the different standards that governmental agencies are held to, ensuring that our employees would be held to the same standards, but at the same time, these employees would not be familiar with our culture of employment, potentially causing issues due to the fact that they utilize different methods than we. Private consultants are often utilized for diversity training as this is their full time job, meaning that they have a good level of familiarity with the material, however this also has the potentiality for the presentations to become stale and flat, reducing their impact, coupled with the fact that they too would be unfamiliar with our employment culture. Academic experts are sometimes utilized due to the fact that this is an often studied area for academia, however their research works to distance themselves from the topic, and it is possible that they might attempt to try out new theories, potentially causing a conflict within the organization. This leaves current employees as a possibility, and while it is true that a current employee would need to be trained on the proper way to handle such a training exercise and will need to be trained on the material, ensuring their familiarity with the content before presenting it to others, it is also true that a current employee would have the most familiarity with the culture of our company, and a familiarity, to a degree, with the individuals who are currently a part of this organization. To this end, it is determined that a current employee would be the best choice for running the training program. It is recommended that a member of HR complete the training as they will be the most familiar with current company policies and appropriate discrimination laws and practices.
In order to ensure the most active participation and the best knowledge retention, it is determined that the training exercise should be completed in a face-to-face setting, ensuring that all employees are fully engaged in the training exercise. This would not be possible to gauge through an online training session wherein individuals could simply click through the exercises, never engaging their coworkers and distancing themselves further, as opposed to truly connecting and creating a cohesive working environment. Additionally, based on the list of topics to be covered during the course of the training session, a fact-to-face training exercise makes the most sense for such exercises, all of which require an active level of participation with other group mates, something that would not necessarily translate well through an online dissociative medium.
At the close of the training exercise, it will be necessary to assess the level of effectiveness of the training exercise itself. The best way to do this will be to have employees, at the close of the session, complete a survey about the training session. This survey will work to not only gauge employee understanding of the material covered, but will also work to determine which exercises completed during the overall training exercise were the most effective, which were the least effective, whether or not they felt the trainer was able to effectively explain the content to them, and whether or not they felt that the training program itself was useful.
- Bregman, P. (2012). Diversity training doesn’t work. [online] Retrieved from: http://blogs.hbr.org/2012/03/diversity-training-doesnt-work/ [Accessed: 7 Feb 2014].
- Edchange.org. (2013). Multicultural, anti-bias, & diversity activities & exercises. [online] Retrieved from: http://www.edchange.org/multicultural/activityarch.html [Accessed: 7 Feb 2014].